Are VHRs a business?

Are vacation home rentals a business? A home? A side-hustle?

Last week we heard a man argue that because Douglas County doesn’t require a home occupation permit, he could operate a bed and breakfast without a permit.

He was right about the home occupation permit, which the county stopped doing in 2012, after determining enforcing it cost more than it generated.

Douglas County is also one of a handful of counties across Nevada that doesn’t have a business license.

However, the county does have a vacation home rental ordinance that wasn’t even out of the gate when a group of Lake Tahoe residents filed a federal lawsuit against it.

We’re not interested in resurrecting the home occupation permit or the business license debate, which last was fully aired in 2007.

But there is something to be said about those things providing valuable information to people who move here, whether they’re interested in renting their home to visitors or are worried about one coming in next door.

Renting Lake Tahoe homes to visitors has been going on for a long time before anyone ever heard of AirBnB.

Like so many things at Lake Tahoe, the end of the string that led to the need for vacation home rental ordinance was the result of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. In 2005, it required jurisdictions around the Lake to implement ordinances governing vacation rentals.

But it wasn’t until the internet caught up to vacation rentals that it became the issue it is today.

We’ve documented a couple of the issues neighbors have had with parties at Tahoe rentals over the years. They’re not pretty, which is one of the reasons there’s an ordinance at all.

Last week saw the first appeal of a fine levied against someone operating a VHR in East Fork, but we bet it’s no where near the last.



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